MPs' pay: Watchdog can 'stick' increase, says Michael Gove

 

Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy talks to BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire: ''We've got to end this running sore of British political life''

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Education Secretary Michael Gove has told Parliament's spending watchdog to "stick" a planned £6,000 MPs' pay rise.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa) says salaries should increase to £74,000 by 2015, but that perks should be cut and pensions made less generous.

Party leaders have criticised the rise but Ipsa's boss argues it will bring MPs into line with other professionals.

Mr Gove called Ipsa "silly" and said parliamentarians were "well paid".

The watchdog is to consult on the rise but MPs cannot block it because they handed control of the decision to the independent body in the wake of the 2009 expenses scandal.

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The overall package will still cost more than it does now although Ipsa says it's made huge savings already in its short life ”

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The Ipsa proposals include:

  • A salary of £74,000 in 2015, with rises after that linked to average earnings across the whole economy
  • A new pension on a par with other parts of the public sector, moving from a final-salary to career-average scheme, which Ipsa says will save taxpayers nearly £2.5m a year
  • Scrapping "resettlement payments", which were worth up to £64,766 for long-serving MPs still of working age, the first £30,000 of which was tax-free. and introducing "more modest" redundancy packages, available only to those who contest their seat and lose
  • A "tighter regime" of business costs and expenses - including an end to the £15-a-night meal allowance and taxis home after late sittings

MPs are currently paid £66,396, but that is due to rise to £67,060 in April 2014 and rise by a further 1% the following year.

The recommendation amounts to a rise of around £6,300 a year, or 9.3%, on what MPs would be getting in 2015.

Asked whether the extra increase should go ahead, Mr Gove said: "Absolutely not. MPs are incredibly well paid at the moment anyway, as are ministers."

He added: "Ipsa - it's a bit of a silly organisation really and pay rise? They can stick it."

A Downing Street spokesman said: "The cost of politics should go down, not up. And MPs' pay shouldn't go up while public sector pay is, rightly, being constrained."

'Not a pay rise'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who has said he will not take the increase, said it was "about the worst time to advocate a double-digit pay increase for MPs", adding that the public would find it "incomprehensible".

Labour leader Ed Miliband said he did not believe the rise should go ahead - and confirmed he would not take it if it did, but he said he was confident Ipsa would change its recommendation after a public backlash.

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My favourite idea would be to create a new parliamentary charity to which MPs could donate their pay rise”

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"I don't think MPs should be getting a 10% pay rise when nurses and teachers are facing either pay freezes or very low increases and people in the private sector are facing similar circumstances," he said.

Prime Minister David Cameron has criticised the proposed increase but a No 10 source declined to comment on whether he would be taking it.

Pressed on the question, the spokesman said: "It's not a pay rise. It's a proposal". He pointed out the package was still to go out to consultation and Downing Street would be submitting its own response.

But Ipsa chairman Sir Ian Kennedy defended the proposal, saying: "The history of MPs' pay and pensions is a catalogue of fixes, fudges and failures to act. The package we put forward today represents the end of the era of MPs' remuneration being settled by MPs themselves.

"For the first time, an independent body will decide what MPs should receive. We will do so in full view, and after consultation with the public."

MPs' pay around the world (2012)

Source: Ipsa

Spain

£44,618

France

£52,028

UK (Westminster)

£65,738

Germany

£72,294

United States

£111,251

Japan

£167,784

Sir Ian told BBC Radio 5 Live's Victoria Derbyshire phone-in programme that MPs should be treated like "modern professionals" and part of the package was a "radical proposal" to introduce an annual "report card" to show the public what MPs did for their money.

He said the pay rise proposal was "fair" because MPs' pay had "fallen back" over the years and they needed to properly rewarded for the job they did, adding that the expenses scandal had been the result of too much pay restraint.

Sir Ian said there was never a good time to increase salaries, but said the changes were designed to "last a generation rather than just respond to the latest political issue", and taken together with the expenses reforms would save taxpayers money.

He said he would over the next two months listen to the views of the public who had taken part in the consultation on the Ipsa website, but he believed the package was not over-generous and was in line with previous recommendations by the senior salaries review board and other bodies.

Sir Ian is paid £700 a day and works on average two days a week, which he said added up to an annual salary of between £60,000 and the "high 70s".

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen backed Ipsa's stance, telling BBC Radio 4's World at One: "I don't believe that MPs are remunerated sufficiently for the job that they do, if you want to attract the right sort of people.

"I don't want Parliament to be only for people of independent wealth, for people who treat it [their salary] as pocket money."

 

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  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 178.

    I did hear it mentioned on Newsnight last night that British MPs were not paid as much as their German counterparts. All I can say to that is the German public enjoy a much better standard of living, pay , pensions and job security than we do .Maybe their MPs are doing a rather better job for their constituents and deserve greater reward.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 177.

    I assume that these calculations were based upon the continued rise in directors pay and not upon the public sector. As increases in Directors pay are based the phrase "we didn't lose as much as we thought, therefore deserve 20%" its not surprising what has been suggested.

    Watching PMQs yesterday all they deserve is hosing down with cold water.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 176.

    The British public only has itself to blame for this.
    There is no point in just whinging about the situation, calling it disgraceful and scandalous in forums such as this.
    The “political elite” knows that you will vent for a while but ultimately you will put up with it.
    Is there any wonder that the word pleb is bandied around from time to time.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 175.

    MP's pay watchdog to back pay rise of more than £6000, the public don't.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 174.

    There is a government petition about this issue on their petition website - just google it. Then you can all "have your say". Will it make a difference? Who knows, but it takes less time to sign than to comment on this article! Do it!

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 173.

    WHAT???????????

    Honestly I give up, I really do.

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 172.

    It is not about how much MP's are on, it is the principal. Low paid public sector workers are not getting pay raises so why should MP's when they get substantial allowance and many of them are millionaires.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 171.

    Its brilliant! Hold all public sector pay and pensions back unless you are a state employed MP. I get it now; thats why income tax for the rich went down to 45% they intend to enjoy them. Whats going to happen to their subsidised restaurants and bars (untaxed?), free parking in central London, expenses etc?

    Who appointed IPSA? Not me or ordinary tax payers I wonder who?

  • rate this
    +56

    Comment number 170.

    So, the IPSA say the MP's must get this rise, or they'll just start fiddling their expenses again.

    Like most, I haven't had a pay rise in several years and if I fiddled my expenses to make up the shortfall, at best I'd lose my job, and, more likely, end up in prison as well.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 169.

    Who didn't see this coming because Board level salary reviews work not.

    MP pay needs to be means tested, after all it is only paid to enable ordinary folk to serve. Serving should not be a career choice. I want to be represented by plumbers teachers disabled bus drivers etc.

    The people who have taken control of the main parties should go. No more PPE clones in the house

    They don't serve

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 168.

    "It must be consistent with what is happening to nurses, teachers and others in the public sector as well as conditions in the private sector."

    Why? Those jobs require qualifications, face rigorous scrutiny and constant re-examination. Politicians require none beyond having to remember which half-truth they last told and to whom tey told it.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 167.

    What we really need is a fundamental change to how Parliament works.
    Build a new modern parliament building with accommodation and catering provided for free - get away from the museum they work in now and build a proper chamber with a less adversarial style.
    Pay a fixed salary, provide free secretarial support etc so we get away from the expenses problems.
    New building project on the HS2 route?

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 166.

    'All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others' George Orwell, Animal Farm.

    That about sums it up.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 165.

    It was ridiculous spending all this money on an MP's pay review when everyone else in the public sector are getting little or nothing. You couldn't justify a rise. Perhaps their pay should be performance related-then they'd receive next to nothing!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 164.

    While public and private sector wages are stagnating as it is I think this is wrong.

    Saying that though they aren't the high paid as the chart shows. Expenses should probably be curbed too.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 163.

    Maybe 50 MPs across all parties do the job.

    The other 650 appear to be their to make animal noises and provide canned laughter.

    A faceless horde of bellowing buffoons in party rosettes.

    Pay them less, but improve Parliament so the ones we have can do the job and earn our Respect.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 162.

    I remember the last time they voted themselves a huge pay rise when they said that would stop them getting second jobs. All these years later they STILL sit on the Board and have nice cushy second jobs.

    I'm sorry. I think MP's, MEP's, Judges, Barristers and the Royal Family all need a severe pay CUT.

  • rate this
    -167

    Comment number 161.

    Here is a simple test.

    If you think MP's should get a pay rise mark this up.

    If you think MP's shouldn't get a pay rise mark this down.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 160.

    "MPs' pay: Watchdog to back pay rise of "MORE" than £6,000"

    This is generally known as "Testing the water" isn't it? I wonder how many MPs are in this watchdog or have friends which are in it and I wonder what their friends are getting out of it?

  • rate this
    +15

    Comment number 159.

    "We are all in this together" = the biggest lie ever told, in the history of mankind.

 

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